72 hours post carpal tunnel surgery. Pain was higher than advertised. I know this next comment is going to make me sound like a bastard, but I'm in pain. And thanks all you fuckwits who can't control your addictions. Because of you I can't be pain free after they cut on me.

So, carpal tunnel surgery increases the difficulty of doing anything by 100% and increases carpal tunnel pain by 100x. Even small movements are agonizing, with pain shooting up and down my arm. And this is only the left arm. I'm getting by, but I'm right handed, so next month is looking like a shit sandwich.

Getting old ain't for sissies.

3/11 '19 6 Comments
Holy shit, I had no idea you just got chopped! I'm so sorry! Of course, had I known it was on your agenda, I would have told you "hey, it's easy peasy" because my dad's was... so I *really* wouldn't have been helpful at all. Shit. I'm so sorry you're having such an awful time right now. You're not a wuss. If you're hurting, you're HURTING.

Are you allowed to call your doc and tell them your pain is beyond what Ibuprofen/Tylenol/whatever they told you to do/prayer/meditation can control? They err on the side of caution by not just giving out a narcotic scrip my default, but my understanding is that they will prescribe a small amount if it's needed.

And yes-- I am with you a billion-fold: Eff the fentanyl-producing/dealing assholes who have now prevented even *cancer patients* from receiving pain meds for fear of a damn DEA raid. It is BULLSHIT. Being a hematology patient, I'm often lumped in with cancer patients, so I'm on a bunch of hematology/oncology listservs and message boards that both doctors and patients participate in. It's staggering to see how much fear and damage this "opioid-epidemic" has caused because politicians decided to tell doctors how to practice medicine and invented arbitrary dosage and prescription limits. Friggin' *cancer patients* are having their pain med prescriptions titrated down or terminated because of these hideous and inhumane rules.

We have a Chinese fentanyl problem, not a 5mg prescription vicodin post-surgery problem for fucksake.

I'm so, so sorry you're hurting, especially this much after 72 hours. Please let me know if we can go to the store for you, walk some doggos, etc.
Thanks. Pain is down a bunch, most pins and needles unless I forget and try to use the hand for balance. Hilariously, I'm relegated to wearing sweat shorts. Long pants cannot be pulled up and belts cannot be fastened like this. Glad the weather isn't 20 degrees any longer.

They pumped me full of IV antibiotics and slathered me down with antibiotic cream, but I have to leave the bandage undisturbed for 17 days. It's gonna be a real stink-o-rama by the time they take the bandage off and take out the stitches.

I have zero tolerance for these new drug rules. I can get tramadol for my dog easier than I can get a prescription for me. And tramadol is nowhere near vicodin or even tylenol-3 FFS!
Ray Conrad 3/13 '19
Oh man. I just wrote this huge reply and I accidentally closed the browser window and it went kablooey. Anyway!

I'm really happy to hear things are subsiding a bit, painwise... but no dressing change for 17 days?! What the heck is that?

Anyway, it's so strange to compare your experience to my dad's. I was there in northern NJ with him for the whole thing, and some of the differences in approach seem funky to me.

Like, 30 mins after we got back from his surgery he was making himself an omelette with his new hand (cockily, thanks the anesthesia... which didn't last long, and he was appropriately babying it after the remaining local anesthesia wore off.) His pain was the worst (but definitely not crazy) on days 2-3, and after that it got markedly better quickly.

Pain-med-wise, they tried giving him to a 3-day vicodin scrip which he refused, to their puzzlement. He believes all of the opioid panic he reads and is convinced he'll go from taking one vicodin post-surgery to shooting up heroin in a walmart bathroom in 30 seconds. But he said he really didn't need anything beyond Advil/Tylenol, and one ancient Tylenol 3 he had laying around.

We went back to the doc's office 3 days later for a post-op visit so they could take the dressing off and check him out. They put on a different, lighter, looser, fresh dressing, and he could change the dressing whenever he wished. He could shower, and when the dressing got wet in the shower, he'd just put on dry one when he got out of the shower. It wasn't anything elaborate.

When he had the stitches still in, they said "Use your hand as comfort allows, but the second you feel any tug on your stitches, you STOP." There were times he got cocky but then felt a tug on the stitches, which reminded him to take it easy and maybe not continue replacing his truck engine that week.

The stitches came out after 15 days (which seems fairly close to what you've been told) and he was told to continue to use his hand as his comfort allows, which he did.

Anyway, he said overall it was easy-peasy, though things were at maximum pain level at the 3-day mark and then got rapidly better.

I'm wondering if there's something drastically different in your diagnoses or medical histories that make your aftercare routines so different. (Not that I need to know.)

If you wanted to go to my dad's guy for your other hand, his name is Dr. Murphy at Skylands Orthopedics in Hackettstown NJ, but he works out of other places in NJ, too. He's awesome and funny. I'd be happy to help facilitate in whatever way I could be useful.
My doctor did my right rotator cuff surgery, so I'm pretty happy with him. Funny, just two years ago they didn't stint on the pain meds. This time I got Tylenol-3, which were not sufficient for the pain, either in strength, duration or size of prescription.

Yeah, the dressing being on for two weeks without changing is weird. I had to read my discharge instructions twice to make sure it wasn't an hallucination, but there it was.

Right out of surgery I was famished, so we went to the Metro Diner near Christiana hospital. The place is nice, I hope it lasts. But then we went back to my friend's house and the anesthesia was worn off. So I took a pain pill, my morning meds and went nappy bye for an hour or so. Lather, rinse and repeat for the rest of the weekend with ice off and on. I was of zero utility for the whole weekend. I couldn't even feed my dogs because I couldn't open the dog food can with one hand.

Typing was a dead letter issue. Couldn't happen with my surgery hand. On Wednesday I could type, but not fast and kept losing placement. Today is better. I'm not up to my close-your-eyes-and-type speed, but it's better.

Tomorrow is a week since surgery. I can close my hand into a loose fist and extend it flat. I can even carry light objects, like a cup of coffee. But my thumb still won't reach to touch my little finger. Not sure if it's swelling, or the bandage that's like putting a falsie in your palm. The worst is when I forget and reach out to put my hand palm -down on something. The pain makes me remember to DON'T DO THAT!
Ray Conrad 3/14 '19
Your dad sounds a lot like my dad. My dad had a cocky pic of himself on a treadmill 4 days post hip-replacement. (He did not actually walk on it, though.)

As for this, "....convinced he'll go from taking one vicodin post-surgery to shooting up heroin in a walmart bathroom in 30 seconds." Yep, hear this a lot, and then often hear that the pain got out of control (right around day 3 is spot-on) and then it's a night of agony and even tears till it gets back under control. I tell folks not to try to be a hero, you don't get addicted after 3 days, hell you don't get addicted after 3 weeks if you're still tapering down from surgery. I don't have the information in front of me atm, but I believe the initial wave of addiction issues came with docs using a 3-month regimen with no plan in place for tapering off.

Ray, I hope you are feeling better by now. I'm sorry you had to go through all that recovery without adequate pain control. It's not just a matter of comfort, it can really affect the healing process, too.

We really need to get this "crisis" under control, and end the war on drugs.
Karen Kuhl 3/19 '19edited
Things are much better. The pain is mostly gone, just occasional flares when I use the hand. I have been wearing long pants since Sunday. And boy, let me tell you, you miss long pants when you don't have them. Just today I can touch my thumb to my pinky finger. The bandage is getting a little grungy. Not ripe yet, but I can't wait for Monday afternoon to get it off and get the stitches out.
I'm going to wash it right away.
Ray Conrad 3/19 '19edited

Friday I go in for the first of the age related maintenance procedures. Carpal tunnel syndrome. The first three fingers of my left hand started going numb a few months back. Now they're number 24/7. Tests have shown that my carpal tunnels have progressed from 'moderate' to 'severe' in two years. 

Computer nerd life, yo.

So, pins and needs this morning, worse in the left than the right. Fortunately the left is getting addressed first. Right gets done next month.

Fuck this. I'm ready. Let's go!

3/4 '19

I got invited to a costume party that was delayed from the prior Friday. So, post-Halloween, I had to gin up a costume and my ax wasn't back from the cleaners yet.

So, I re-treaded an old costume. The chestburster from Alien. Yes, I have one. He doesn' t eat much and things are fine as long as he stays inside the containment field and power doesn't fail.

I realized that this is the only costume I have that I could wear to cosplay at Comic Con, were I to ever brave the perils of the introvert-destroying event. Someday, maybe, if I go insane.

11/5 '18 4 Comments
"Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gaaaaaaal..."
Now where the heck am I supposed to find a teeny-tiny top hat?
Ray Conrad 11/6 '18
I like the mouse. Nice touch.
Karen Kuhl 11/6 '18
The mouse was a table decoration. I thought it added a certain je ne sai quois.
Ray Conrad 11/6 '18